I awoke to find Big Show missing, and relieved that Tubbo had crashed on the couch instead of living up to his threat to "canoodle" me. After showering up, I found Big Show attacking the Venetian double deck game. He quickly cashed out and we got our daily 5 minutes of fresh air on the walk over to Chipotle, where we fueled up for an aggressive day at the poker tables.
Although there were at times several tremendously juicy fish at the Venetian 5-10NL game who were willing to put in their entire $2000 stacks with top pair, I was unable to make anything good happen against them, and instead found myself on the short end of pocket kings vs. a flopped set of jacks.
A bunch of bloggers were at the Venetian for a special tournament, and I finally met the immortal Doctor Pauly. I also said hi to The Bracelet, Ftrain and Falstaff. This was the second time I was in Vegas at the same time as the blogger posse, and the second time I'd stayed on my own path with the Big Show instead of partaking in the blogger agenda.
After 6 depressing hours in the 5-10NL game, I finally bailed to go get cleaned up to watch the fight: Mayeather-Hatton: Undefeated. Now, the sportsbooks can't show the fight, because MGM owns the rights, so the way it works is that MGM properties sold tickets to closed circuit viewings (read: a ballroom with 50 tables set up and the fight projected onto 8 big screens around the room) for the masses who couldn't get tickets to the MGM arena. Even these closed circuit viewings were tough tickets, and Big Show's VIP connection fell down on us at the last minute, even after promising us we would be all set.
Springing into action, I immediately suggested we cruise over to the under the radar Treasure Island - the former crown jewel of the MGM empire - back when it was the Mirage empire. Ok, so the T.I. was never the actual crown jewel - it was always the Mirage's retarded little brother, but anyway - they'd have the fight, and it had to be a better shot than the Mirage or their properties down by the MGM.
We speed-walked to the T.I.'s ballroom, where I was informed by the ticket checker that there were possibly some tickets that had been released - we should check downstairs at the Mystere ticket office. After cruising back downstairs and waiting in line for 10 minutes, we had the pleasure of paying $50 each for a seat at the closed circuit viewing. Open bar? Free food? Nope. Nope. Not so much as a free drink ticket included. Worst beat of the trip, but anyway; Tubbo and Big Show arbitraged the situation by bringing up chicken fingers and beers from the deli downstairs - where the beers were $2 less.
Estimates of the number of British hooligans who came for the fight ranged from 80,000 to 200,000, and the Ricky Hatton song got annoying real quick. Still, it was more fun to route for Hatton than Pretty Boy Floyd, although Floyd almost won me over when he entered the ring to The Boss's Born In the USA. This fight, despite both fighters being undefeated, was like watching Rocky come to life. Hatton IS Rocky, and Floyd IS Apollo.
Earlier I had argued with Big Show about the price on the fight: I wanted Hatton + 200, he wanted Mayweather - 180. I explained that the line was +185/-215, so +200 was mid market. He and Tubbo didn't realize that the line had changed, and the normally robust Big Show proved to be a giant pussy in basically saying "I don't want anymore action." I took solace in buying a ticket at the Venetian sports book at a worse price (+185 at 3pm, which promptly went to +275 by the start of the fight!!!!), explaining to Big Show; "Hah - Fuck you - either I win this ticket, and I'm happy, or I lose, and I'm paying the book instead of YOU! CHUG IT!" This was the reason I was able to celebrate and dance in Big Show's face when Hatton got knocked out, as I didn't have to fork the cash over to him.
So, dragging early on our third night in Vegas, we somehow came up with The Worst Idea In History - which was to take a cab over to the MGM post fight. Arriving at the MGM we found a scene that looked like the Running of the Bulls met an English soccer game. A pure, impenetrable mass of humanity. The bright side was that there was no riot. We fought through the casino, but quickly bailed on that idea and walked across the street to the immortal Tropicana, where I'd never been.
Upon entering the Trop's bus-depot like side entrance, I realized that I had been there. As we made a quick lap through the casino I realized why I'd blocked it out of my memory - it totally chugged cock. As we exited through the other side door, we came upon what I crowned "The most depressing place on the strip," which reminded me of the bleachers at Baby's the old club in the Hard Rock - carpeted steps with vending machines at the bottom, and a variety of drunken lightweights and people seeking warmth from the cold passed out. Not a happy scene.
Being a mere 100 yards from the former San Remo, now Hooters Casino, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see how this re branding was working. Strangely, Hooters seemed to be doing good business, but without any of their trademark Hooters charm - the dealers were by and large below average in looks, and they were wearing mostly standard garb - with only a sparse few in Hooters outfits. However, they did not let us down in the intelligence (lack of) department; resulting in the first favorable dealer error of our trip!
Feeling like crap, I put the waitress on severe tilt by ordering the Dirty Dave: hot tea with honey and lemon. Now, Dave has made this a Sunday morning poker room staple, as a cure for all of Saturday's ills, but I'm reasonably sure that I'm the first person ever to order it on Saturday night in the history of Hooters. The waitress looked at me like I just told her I was a hot air balloon pilot. She stared at me. I stared at her. "I'm serious," I told her. She didn't move. "Really. I need to get right - THEN I'll start drinking," I explained, which seemed to pacify her, as she went off and eventually returned with 3 different tea choices for me, along with some detailed recommendations of which I might like.
We were seated at a Let It Ride table, where I was losing my L-I-R virginity - a rarity for me to find a casino game I'd never played. Within the first hour, Big Show and Tubbo both squeezed out open ended 4 card straight flushes, which are the holy grail of this game. They each had two outs to a 200-1 payout, but each missed his draw. After being felted and rebuying, I went on a hot streak, and managed to spike a straight, and then a flush - which is a big hand in this game. I'd tilted the dealer by refusing to bet the extra $1 bonus on each hand, which basically would help me if i managed to make a royal flush. When I made my straight, she paid me off for the $25 bonus anyway, as Tubbo, Big Show and I instinctively fell silent, until Tubbo cried out "Who's the big winner?!?!?! KD's the big winner!!!!" in the style of Trent from Swingers.
When I made my flush, an 8-1 payout, smoke started coming out the dealers ears. "What's 8-1 on $30?" She asked out loud. I stared at her. "2400?" I volunteered. She pursed her lips. She Big Show's jaw dropped. My jaw dropped. She asked the pit boss: "What's 8-1 on $30?" He looked at her and walked away.
"I think he's going to get a calculator!" I told Big Show, being honest, but he was almost too stunned to laugh - even the fucking PIT BOSS didn't know! Eventually, using all her fingers and toes, she came up with the correct answer, $240, all on her own! The thing is, this dealer wasn't a typical Hooters employee like you're thinking! She was a short pig with the mandated "you're not hot enough" uniform: long sleeved white t-shirt under yellow short sleeved collared shirt, and long black pants.
Despite the positive EV of retarded dealers, we packed up at Hooters and returned to the Venetian where we played a mammoth double deck blackjack session with Androgynous Kim Jong Il. This guy - I THINK it was a guy - was a spitting image of what would happen if Kim Jong Il starred in the classic Saturday Night Live "It's Pat," sketch. So AKJI (Androgynous Kim Jong Il" is in the first base seat, with Big Show in the middle and me one to the right of 3rd base. We're playing black chips, and AKJI is playing two hands. He gets a blackjack on the top of the deck in at least one of his hands EVERY FUCKING SHOE. Meanwhile, I'm on a blackjack frigid streak, 0 for my last 8 hours. I put Big Show on tilt by ordering a Kahlua on the rocks to drink!
The night before at Harrah's, as we screamed "MONKEY!!!!!" every time we needed the dealer to bust, one dealer informed us that the phrase was originally "monarchy," which seemed to make sense, as one would call for a monarchy card: king, queen, jack. Thus, without confirmation of the fact, Big Show would proceed to scream MONARCHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE every time for the rest of the trip, tilting all casino employees within earshot.
The pit boss at the Venetian inquired, "Why are you yelling monarchy?" Big Show looked at him but declined to comment, so I just replied "Would you prefer if we yell PAI GOW!" Anyway, I had an epic hand where I had 2's split twice and doubled twice, getting 5 units in play against a dealer 5. I made a few 18's, but the dealer turned over a ten in the hole and then a 4, and swept my chips. With a massively favorable deck now, I feigned tilt, and pushed $600 out on the next hand, which I promptly won to get right. AKJI put me on the worst kind of tilt when he refused to split 9's against a dealer 6 - which must be one of the highest EV plays one can have the opportunity to make in a casino. However, Tubbo encountered a character in his 6 deck shoe who made what was officially The Worst Play I've Ever Seen. This stereotypical rich Southerner had $1k bet, and decided to split 7's against a dealer 10. Of course, he busted one hand, and received an Ace on the other. The proper play on a soft 18 vs. a dealer 10 is to hit, but this guy thought for 45 seconds about DOUBLING his bet! In the end he elected to stay, watched the dealer bust, and broke even on the hand.
This nauseating play broke my will, and I hit the room for some much needed rest.
First thing Sunday morning, we called Dirty Dave to get the hot plays for the NFL. He put us into a jackpot 3-team parlay that ended up going 0-3. Perfect. Then we hit the Grand Luxe, to claim our breakfast comp we'd earned the previous evening. I was severely tilted when I was informed that since it was 11am, I could no longer order from the breakfast page, which contained the omelet I desired. Instead, I could only order one of the omelets listed on the lunch page. I stared at the waiter, not comprehending. "So you don't have omelets right now?" I asked. "Just these omelets here," he pointed. "But you DO have eggs right? I mean, it's 11:00 on the nose - they can't make me the omelet from the OTHER page?" He was having none of it, and I settled for a bagel with lox, which chugged cock.
We put together a new parlay, consisting of the Denver-KC over, which basically got there in the first half, the Cleveland-Jets CLE money line, which worked fine, and the Pats-Steelers over 47 1/2. With the score 17-13 at the half, we were sitting pretty, especially when the Pats scored two more TD's to make it 31-13 with a full quarter remaining. We needed a score of any kind, and didn't even think we'd regret that the Pats had missed a field goal, and the Pittsburgh had failed to score from first and goal in the 3rd quarter. Savvy gamblers that we are, we quickly realized that Pitt wasn't going to be kicking any FG's, and we needed the Pats to score a TD on their current drive with 9 minutes remaining, otherwise our sure thing was going to be in serious danger of going down in flames. As Randy Moss dropped the TD catch on 3rd down and the Pats kicked a field goal to put us within a hook of the number (34-13), I buried my face in my hands and lamented the oncoming train wreck.
Pittsburgh managed to get inside the 25 with under 4 minutes left, but, refusing to give up, was obviously not going to kick a field goal. Instead, they failed to score and turned it over on downs. What made this especially painful was that when the Steelers got the ball back with 90 seconds to play, they gave up! Electing to run draw plays instead of airing it out to score! I mean, I can understand not kicking the field goal earlier, but what the fuck - either you're giving up, or not. If you're not giving up, then try to fucking score! Despite cashing a winning Patriots ticket, the UNDER beat in the parlay put me on bajungi tilt, which worsened considerably when we ran into JC, who put the monster kaibash on me, and resulted in me dropping a full blackjack buyin - which was my FIRST losing session of the trip at a casino game!
Big Show and Tubbo headed off to the airport, and I hung with JC a little, grinding out a small Pai Gow win, before I hit the poker room to kill my final few hours playing in a nice little shorthanded 5-10NL game with 2 pros and a few fish. Unfortunately, just as the game filled up with Euro-tourist fish, I had to go catch my flight. My cabbie put me on the kind of tilt I only dream of, when, after asking me "You want to take the strip or the highway?" I replied "The quick way." He didn't know I've been here 30 times, and responded "The highway." Now, 90 seconds later, I tell him, "This is NOT the quick way," at which point he gets all defensive, and shows me his sheet, where the last customer from the Venetian paid the same rate my meter came to - cause he took that doucheball for the long ride also! For those of you unaware, the highway route basically takes you all the way around the entire airport. So, instead of cruising down the strip, making a left, and entering the airport, you do a 7 mile loop around it, and come in the same way. Since there was no Strip traffic on Sunday night, I was on mega-tilt all the way home to New York.
A Quiznos sub at the airport placated me slightly, as did the fact that despite giving back more than 1/2 my winnings in my final 6 hours in Vegas, I was leaving a winner, which is something you can never complain about. The Lords of Tilt threw me a final curveball, when the guy jammed into the middle seat next to me was the poor man's Biz Markie. Unfortunately, this guy lacked the smooth rhyming skills, but snored like a buzzsaw, and spread his legs at a 90 degree angle.
I pulled my hood over my head and entered an altered state of consciousness.
Trip diversity displayed:
Casino games: Blackjack, Pai Gow, Let it Ride, Roulette
Poker: 4-8 Limit, 1-2NL, 2-5NL, 5-10NL
Drinks: Vodka & grapefruit, Vodka & cran, beer, hot tea, Kahlua, Kahlua hot chocolate, Captain & coke
until next time,